Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fun-Filled Informational Peanut & Pecan Nut Facts

The following is a guest post:

Nuts from around the world have had a history, unlike so many other modern day things. Asia Minor was a hot bed of cultivation and farming of nuts. The walnut is still held in such high regard in the Middle East. The nuts were reserved only for the Royal families. No matter what part of the globe where things can grow in anyone can find a piece of history which pertains to nuts.

Peanut


Peanuts
A peanut is not a nut at all and are part of the 'goober' which is a member of the pea family. They originated in South America and were consumed by the tribal Indians for well over 2000 years. Spanish and Portuguese traders introduced them to Africa and Europe. In return, the merchants brought them to the United States. At first the peanut was regarded as food only meant for poor people. By the early part of the 20th century, it is known that the desire for peanut oil along with seasoned peanuts had created a vital need. Not only did the world consume this nut in the roasted and natural state but new nut recipes were now enjoyed.

In 1916, the Planters Peanuts sponsored a logo contest. A 13 year old boy created what we see today as Mr. Peanut. The drawing was chosen and refined by artists. They included the monocle, top hat, cane and gloves. His reward?  The huge sum of the day, $5.00 only.

Other unique facts are that it takes about 550 peanuts to make a 12 ounce jar of peanut butter. That is a fact that everyone can tell the friends down the bar tonight. Let’s be honest that is a massive amount of peanuts crammed into a jar.

Pecan


Pecan treePecans are the only nuts native to North America, all other nuts which grow here today either were brought from another region or cultivated to grow in a different climate. Archeological digs in the State of Texas show that this nut was around since 6000 B.C. Further evidence shows these trees being grown along river beds and consumed by natives and new settlers for thousands of years.

The Algonquin Indian word “Pecan” was used to name this nut as the meaning is “all nuts requiring a stone to crack”.

The first cultivation of pecan trees began around the last part of the 17th century in northern Mexico. Both the Spanish colonist and Franciscans in this region came together to plant and document these trees and their harvests. Many uses for these nuts came about at this time with new nut recipes and other ways to enjoy them.

Thomas Jefferson admired pecan trees and planted them at Monticello. He also sent George Washington the seeds to plant at Mr. Vernon where both his and Jefferson's can still be viewed today.

The U.S. Produces 80% of the world’s pecan crops.

More than 1000 varieties exist. Many have Indian names such as Cheyenne, Shawnee, Mohawk, Sioux and Choctaw.

Tim Slower has spent twenty years in the vegetable market trade and was introduced to the beauty of nuts over the Christmas period. His wife Sara began to make nut recipes, and they have both never looked back from that point. Sarah and James now write books on fantastic tasting food that include nuts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Planning a Restaurant Menu? Here Are Some Considerations

The following is a guest post:

A restaurant's menu is a representation of the establishment. Thus, it has to be planned carefully. If you are a restaurant owner or if you are creating a menu for an eating establishment, there are some vital considerations that you should always keep in mind. Here are some examples.

Consider the Overall Theme or Concept


The concept of a restaurant will determine the interior d├ęcor and what paint color or furnishings to use. Naturally, the concept must also be interpreted in the menu. There are so many themes to choose from. If you wish, you can base an entire idea on certain kinds of cuisine, like Asian, French or all-American. You can also opt to establish your concept based on your location. For example, if you are going to have your eating establishment in an area mainly populated by Asians, maybe you can focus on serving sushi, curry or dishes with rice or noodles.

Finalize The Size of Your Menu


Restaurant Menu
Are you going to be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner? If so, then you ought to have dishes that will be apt for each eating schedule. For breakfast, eggs, pancakes, or French toast are popular options. Think about serving hot beverages, like coffee or hot chocolate. In case you also want to serve the lunch and dinner crowd, consider salads, main courses, and desserts. Juices, wine, or beer are just a few drinks that you can have too.

What's important to remember here is that you need to base your menu on your resources. Don't include anything and everything. Carefully choose the dishes that you are going to incorporate in your menu. If your menu consists of so many food choices, your customers could get confused. Try to make it simpler.

Decide If You'll Serve Specials


Having special dishes will definitely attract more customers. This will also allow people to readily recognize your establishment through your dishes. Once certain dishes gain popularity, others will be convinced to try these, and so they'll visit your restaurant.

Review Food Costs and Settle on Prices


It is a challenge to finalize the cost of each dish. Others will assign prices by comparing the cost of their dishes with their competitors. If they want to become the more affordable alternative, they'll lower the prices to draw in customers. Some might increase the cost of their food if they prefer.

These methods generally work, but the most commonly used technique is to sum up the amount of raw ingredients used and multiply the figure by 3 or 4. Add more to the amount if you use other elements especially in the presentation of dishes. In addition, it's very important to control portions. This way, you'll have a general idea on how much each dish typically costs.

Ultimately, your prices should be fair. Don't overprice since this could put off customers. But don't be too cheap too as you might suffer huge losses if you do. So, be practical and try to offer both affordable and slightly expensive items so that your consumers will have more options.